• Sword

    by Kelvin Wade

    Our President and Congress have finally devised a way to fix our broken economic situation. Amazingly, it requires no one to violate any oath they signed with any lobbyists. They don’t have to run it by their corporate or union paymasters. All they have to do to shore up our financial situation is…nothing.

    Nothing at all.

    By failing to come to an agreement with the Super Committee, after 2012, the trigger or “sequestration” kicks in. We thought a terrible consequence could turn Congressional corporate lackeys into statesman. The gamble failed.

    With cuts already passed this past summer, when the trigger kicks in we will be talking about cuts to defense of a trillion dollars over the next ten years. That will mean scrapping the F-35 fighter program and other weapons modernization programs.

    Pentagon Press Secretary George Little recently put it this way: “The reality is that we’ve done the analysis, and we would face the smallest Army and Marine Corps in decades, … the smallest Air Force in the history of the service, … [and] the smallest Navy since the Woodrow Wilson administration if sequestration were to happen.”

    On the domestic front, Social Security and Medicare would be spared. That’s the good news. But there would be huge cuts in Veterans health benefits, transportation infrastructure, research and development, low income housing assistance, nutrition programs, border patrol, food inspection, nuclear power plant inspection, clean air monitoring, air traffic controllers, IRS agents and more.

    Before you cheer the cuts to the IRS, without those agents, enforcement will take a hit and we won’t take in as much revenue.

    There are real world implications. Cutting the military and government departments means higher unemployment. It will leave more people fighting for vanishing private sector jobs. This will lead to a new round of foreclosures. More neighborhoods will collapse and the businesses around them will close.

    People are going to be hurt. People are going to die because of the lack of government enforcement on energy, air and water pollution and food inspection.

    Also, at the end of 2012, by doing nothing, the Bush-Obama tax cuts will expire for everyone.

    Those making over $250,000 will see the top marginal rate go from 35% to 39.6%. The wealthy will see taxes go up on income and capital gains. The “average American” will see their taxes go up from $400 to a few thousand dollars a year. That’s in addition to the payroll tax cuts that expire at the end of this year.

    Ironically, by letting the Bush tax cuts expire, the tax increase on the wealthy will end up being larger than anything the Democrats have proposed.

    While it’s in vogue to say both parties are equally responsible, the Republicans bear more of the responsibility for this outcome. It was their intransigence on tax increases that led to this. Just imagine if Democrats had signed a pledge that they would never cut any spending. We’d all be up in arms at their bullheadedness. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Yet, one political party has decided they will never vote for a tax increase for any reason. That makes rational governance impossible.

    So, instead of thoughtful, statesmanlike governance, we have government by trigger. Taken together, the massive cuts and tax increases will either usher in an age of austerity or a depression. Welcome to the Divided States of America.

    • I like the way you explained this. But I want to know what you think we can do to help change this attitude and see the right changes made so this doesn’t lead to a depression unseen in America before. I was talking today with my 84 1/2 year old friend face to face and he lived through all the major events, depression and wars and he has never remembered oour country being this divided EVER. So sad. I will not be around to see all these changes (I am 63 now) but my kids and grandkids will bear the brunt of all the mistakes we made that put them in this position.

      • Kelvin

      • November 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm
      • Reply

      What we can do? The best thing I can see happen is if the Republican Party runs the most conservative person they can find and they lose. There needs to be an event within the party to rouse the moderates and traditional conservative to rise up against the neocons. The reason I put it on the Republicans is that the Democrats having agreed to never cut spending. The Republicans taking the pledge they have makes it impossible to compromise, impossible to govern. Until that’s fixed, I don’t see how we solve this. I can talk about getting money out of politics but that’s a pipe dream. I’m just not optimistic that we’re going to pull out of this. I think we’re like Thelma and Louise heading for a cliff and no one is going to hit the brakes.

      • Kelvin

      • November 28, 2011 at 8:39 pm
      • Reply

      Extremes shouldn’t be allowed to hold sway. That’s not where the majority of the country is. Polls show that the public wants to see compromise. And so far, those polls have gone unheeded.

    • The Republicans would rather let things collapse than agree with Barack Obama on ANYTHING. That is their only motivation – do not support Obama, no matter what the consequences. It’s all pathetic and sad.

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